Writing books

I'm writing books. And I took some photos of moments worth remembering along the way. Some are even funny.

I'm writing books. I'd never expected I would ever be writing more than 3 consecutive sentences again after I finished school. That's why I studied design after all :-)

I had been writing short tipps and tricks for a German magazine when German publisher Rheinwerk (then Galileo Press) asked me if I was interested to write a book about Adobe Illustrator. I was still using FreeHand at that time, but thought it might be an interesting experience to write a book. I didn't start this alone, but with a partner who later left because other jobs kept him busy.
So how do you start a book? The publisher already had an outline written by another author who had started the project and then had to abandon it. We worked on that outline and reordered it to do our own. We printed out the outline, cut it and layed out all the parts.
After reordering, we assigned who will write each chapter, collected ideas for illustrations - you need lots of illustrations in 500 pages ... and when you think you won't ever be able to draw all this stuff, then you need even more.
But once you're at it, you will soon realize that you need more pages than the publisher thinks is reasonable. So you have to cram everything into the book: text and illustrations.
When dialog boxes don't fit into the layout, I make them fit. That's what Photoshop is there for after all. And you send off each chapter to the editor once it's finished ...
... and soon after you're done with the book, you will get a pile of paper. This is only frightening when you get it for the first time. And then you realize you will have to go through all the pages and correct everything. There are lots of marks on these printouts. The colors are yelling into your face. Everyone who has read your nice and perfectly worded manuscript uses a different color to put down their remarks. And they have a lot of remarks. And a lot of colors.
But you get used to it. And when you receive another one and another one, you just shrug it off and get to work. This is the pile of edited printouts for my first 5 books shortly before I dumped it.
What needs special attention is the index. An index isn't just an InDesign feature, but it needs some careful reading and editing. It will hugely benefit from it. I print out my index and then read it carefully a couple of times, make my remarks, check everything and usually find missing links, duplicate content or stuff that needs additional indexing and additional keywords.
And after some rounds of editing you get this nice large box. The book has since grown from the inital 570 pages to 812 pages.
And you can take some goofy photos.
But I'm not the only one who has fun with the book, my editor has as well. They made some Christmas tree decoration out of it.
Also when you have finished one book, the proces starts again immediately. Collect content for the next version. This is after some weeks, but it escalated quickly ...
This is how it looked when I had finished the next edition of the book.
I did that every time. But with the following versions I pulled out the paper when I had entered it into the book. And then it helped me track the process ...
... the scraps of paper vanished day after day ...
... until finally they were all in the envelope.
To keep track I also use a list of the chapters to write down how many pages there are. This is my project management.
Another funny photo featuring a finished book.
And another project management. This is an upgraded version that keeps track of chapter coloring as well.
What's nice about writing books is that you sometimes see your stuff exhibited at trade shows. This is at CeBIT.
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